If not for the change in speed limit most travellers would probably fly through the town of Uraidla, which sits in an Adelaide Hills valley on a two-lane road that dips and climbs around blind corners never more than 300 metres apart. Ten years ago, they definitely wouldn’t have stopped.
Located 17 kilometres east of the Adelaide CBD, Uraidla is home to 575 people and covers less than 3 square kilometres. Greenhill Road (B26) passes east to west through the centre of the township; a 150 metre straight stretch of it is the town’s Main Street. Today’s revitalised Main Street was nearly a ghost town in 2013 after all the businesses had shuttered and the hotel poured its last drink.
“When I was growing up in the hills, Uraidla was the biggest nothing place. There was never more than maybe four people in the pub,” one local says during a weekend visit to the now busy Uraidla Hotel. “Now it’s really quite cool.”
Brought back from the brink by a grassroots group of residents determined to revitalise their community, Uraidla was awarded South Australia’s Best Regional Mainstreet in 2019. It is now home to a small group of thriving businesses, including the popular Uraidla Hotel.
The rejuvenated hotel is a cream-coloured two-storey stone building with a banner proclaiming “Uraidla’s Best Pub” hanging on balcony that runs around the upstairs corner. While the front foyer retains the Art Deco style used during a post-fire renovation in the 1930s, the back of the building is a combination of modern glass, steel and reclaimed wood.
Bartenders pull year-round and limited release Uraidla Brewery beer from the taps which are made of old wooden and metal garden tools, including a trowel and fork. According to one bartender, there has been a brewery on the site for over 150 years and that the whole site, which includes the brewery, bakery and café next door, uses only the pure spring water sourced from the onsite bore. Like the water, much of the hotel’s produce is grown onsite or sourced locally.
Lost in a Forest
Across the street and just as popular is Lost in a Forest, a wood oven pizzeria and wine lounge operating out of a converted church. Inside the 130-year-old building the white walls are painted with a forest silhouette and the menu’s unusual pizzas cook inside the bubble-gum pink oven. Choices include Báhn Mì with pork crackling and sriracha mayo, Shòógúń with miso oil and okonomiyaki sauce, and the Buzzbomb which is finished with the restaurant’s signature chilli infused honey. Diners can match their organic pizza with an Adelaide Hills organic wine or try one of the owners’ own blends.
Over the past few years, Lost in a Forest and Uraidla Hotel have become well-known names to locals and residents in the greater Adelaide area. Instead of driving through without a second thought, Adelaideans now make Uraidla their destination.
From Adelaide, take Greenhill Road the whole way. It starts south of the Adelaide Park Lands before gaining in elevation up through the hills.
Alternatively, take the M1 and get off at the Mount Loft / Crafers exit. Turn left at Piccadilly Road (just before getting back on the M1), then right on Greenhill Road.
Ride shares also go to the area.
The Uraidla Hotel is open every day of the week. Meals are served Monday – Friday 12:00 – 2:30pm for lunch and 5:30 – 8:30 pm for dinner; Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 8:30 pm for all day dining.
Uraidla Brewery, Bakery and Café
Uraidla Brewery and Republic are is open every day of the week from 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Lost in a Forest
Lost in a Forest is currently open with limited sittings. Pre-booked sittings are available Thursday and Friday at 5:00pm, 6:30pm or 8:00pm; or weekends from 12:00pm for 90-minute sittings.